Monday, 17 May 2010
They reminisce over youth...
Remember 'Pebble Mill'? What about 'Radio Victory'? If you're younger than thirty you probably won't be familiar with either. And if you've never lived in or around Hampshire then the answer to the latter is more than likely 'no'. To be honest though, you didn't really miss much...
Pebble Mill was an early afternoon chat show which ran through the 1970s up until the mid '80s on BBC1 or BBC2. I suppose the closest we've got to it now is 'This Morning' (which is only worth watching for Holly Willoughby, if you're lucky enough to have the day off work). The faint recollections I have of the show are from spending time round my Grandparents' house as a kid. Nan and Pops loved the show but for a young lad there wasn't really much going on to grab your attention. I'd usually head out to the garden for a kick about when it started, sometime just after lunch.
Radio Victory was your typical regional Radio Station that played little more than the average run-of-the-mill Pop cr*p. The only time I ever listened to it was with my Dad and Uncle on the way home from Fratton Park on Saturday afternoons. The jingle they used to play before reading the Football results was a favourite in the car. A good old sing along was guaranteed if Pompey'd had a good win.
The other memory I have of Radio Victory is from around fifteen years ago when they sold off their entire library of vinyl. Barry Styles, Nic Bossa and myself headed over to Portsmouth (maybe Gosport or Fareham, can't remember) on the day of the sale and after queuing up for an hour or so were told we had a fifteen minute limitation on digging time. So many people had turned up it was the only fair(ish) way they could handle the numbers. Once in, it was all a bit overwhelming with around twenty other record fiends scrambling around a room full of uncatergorised vinyl - the clock quickly ticking away in the background. Everything was 50p and I dis pull out some nice James Brown albums and a couple of Hip-Hop bits but I think we'd probably been beaten to most of the real gems that day. Still, a great experience which I wish I could relive all these years later.
Anyway, about a year ago I picked up this album - "Down At The Old Pebble Mill". I can't remember where from, which is unusual for me as I can normally recall where I bought, and how much I paid for, pretty much every record I own. I don't even know why I picked it out in the first place but ended up buying it for Elaine Delmar's version of "Alone Again (Naturally)". It was only a few days ago though that the lovely certificate from Radio Victory (below) popped out whilst removing the vinyl from the sleeve. I'd not noticed it before. Apparently Barbara Pryce won the 'Vintage Competition' on Dave Carson's Victory Vintage show back in 1978. This record was obviously her prize. Now I'm pretty sure the station folded a few years ago, I definitely haven't heard the name for some time anyway, but the sight of this certificate sparked off the memories I wrote about above and the reason I decided to post it here. It also reminded me of the one and only prize I have won in a competition of this type, which must have been in 1989 - the prize being De La Soul's "3 feet High And Rising" on cassette. Winners could choose any title from the U.K. Top 40 Album Chart at the time. I can't remember exactly how you won but I was pleased as punch when the tape arrived in the post a few weeks later. I wish I'd kept my own congratulatory certificate and also, not leant the cassette to Stuart Potts - his two year old brother pulled it to pieces leaving it long past any state of repair. Little b*stard.
All these memories, that were pretty much buried and lost along with a million others, have all come flooding back, thanks to a record and piece of paper that lay tucked inside it's sleeve for just over thirty years. Thank you Barbara, for either selling me this album at Boot Sale or donating it to a Charity Shop that I might have bought it from. I've had a lovely afternoon reminiscing over my youth.
So I guess you're wondering about the music on the record then? After all, this blog is meant to be about vinyl and the wonderful sounds some of it creates. Well like I said, I bought the album for the Elaine Delmar song. I already had the original pressing of her self titled album, which includes this track, and was hoping for a live version with alternative drum break intro. Alas, it's exactly the same, only slightly shorter. Still, nice to have doubles of a dope drum break. The fact that one of them appears on an album celebrating 1000 editions of a crappy British TV program gets bonus points from me for novelty value alone. There's f*ck all else on the record but if you like theses drums and wanna save yourself a few quid, keep an eye out for it on your travels. The Elaine Delmar LP goes for considerably more money, with not a great deal else warranting the extra cash you'd need to spend. Do yourself a favour and grab the BBC product for pennies instead of pounds. Having said that, there is a nice moody version of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" which makes for good sample material, and the entire album is arranged and conducted by Nick Ingman so it's worth picking up if you see it for a fiver or so, just don't get drawn into eBay prices . If I didn't already own the original I'd be more than happy having this one track on the Pebble Mill LP.
Elaine Delmar "Alone Again (Naturally)" (1972, MCA Records UK)*
*I recorded this from the original album but the Pebble Mill version is EXACTLY the same, just fades out a little earlier.